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Kingstonian 0-1 Hornchurch

Scenes reminiscent of last season's home game with Braintree met the fans who had braved the late Kingsmeadow thunderstorms - a cloud of uncertainty hanging over the match. This time, however, with the season in its final week, the referee was willing to allow the pitch drainage time and so the game went ahead following a delayed kick off.

The only changes in the Kingstonian side from the win over Basingstoke at the weekend saw Craig Lewington and Martyn Williams start, with assistant manager Scott Steele and Grant Payne dropping down to the bench.

Hornchurch boasted a number of names familiar to the Ryman Premier circuit, though the experienced Keith Rowland and influential Ollie Adedeji were missing. Following the departure of the controversial George Borg, former Dagenham & Redbridge manager Gary Hill's first games had seen the Urchins in solid and successful form.

The pitch had drained down from what resembled a lake to scattered ponds and puddles as the game kicked off at 8.30pm.

Lance Key was the first to be called into serious action when a backpass from Max Hustwick stopped short of the goalkeeper before Key came flying out to deny the ready-to-pounce Andy Douglas. Key was again called into action to deny the conditions but then saw his side start to move the ball about with more composure as they got to grips with the conditions.

Stafford Browne exposed space behind the Hornchurch space midway through the half when running down the left flank and past visiting goalkeeper Daniel Gay as he came rushing out of his goal, before crossing the ball into the box only for Danny Kerrigan to head clear under no pressure inside the six yard box.

A couple of half chances at the other end saw veteran Gary Abbott's strike fly past the frame of the goal before Key's instincts were again tested as he saved low at his near post after the ball had broken in the area.

The visitors' defence was once again unlocked, this time when Jermaine Hinds played a ball down the right channel to Martyn Williams. The youngster was able to keep his man behind him as he drove into the box before squaring to Browne. The ball seemed to just hit Browne and bounce up, leaving the striker Browne with little further option than to attempt an overhead kick that went over.

Williams was to take no further part in the game, having sustained an injury during that move, and was replaced by Grant Payne. And as the half drew to an end, Payne proved to be a nuisance to the Hornchurch side that now seemed to be boasting a part-time striker-turned-defender in Vinnie John. Having been involved in a tussle with Payne that saw the K's man go over in the box, John proceeded to lose his own footing as he attempted to clear the danger, allowing Bashiru Alimi a strike that flew wide across goal.

Dave Timothy continued his recent fine form in the second half and almost provided an assist for Browne, the striker heading not far wide.

With about an hour gone - usually quite a productive period for goals in matches involving the K's - a long Hornchurch throw landed nicely for Andy Douglas in space on the edge of the box and the striker drilled in a fierce shot beating Key low to his left to open the scoring.

A response almost followed immediately when Timothy cut inside from the left and released a superb strike from 30 yards that despite beating Gay was denied by the crossbar.

The attacking action came to an early end as Hornchurch took a grip on the game. Scott Smith denied Andy Martin what would have been a clear sight on Key's goal but was punished with only a yellow card.

A well done to all those who ensured the game went ahead, and also the sides for coping with the first half conditions - particularly K's, who seemed to have a slight edge up until the goal. The game could have finished as a draw and had that been the case it certainly would not have been an injustice.

Tue 27th Apr 2004
Kingsmeadow Stadium
Isthmian League Premier
1Lance Key
2Stuart Booth
3Scott SmithCautioned
4Jermaine Hinds
5Max Hustwick
6Craig LewingtonCautioned
7Liam CollinsCautioned16
8Bashiru Alimi
9Stafford Browne
10Martyn Williams12
11Dave Timothy17
12Grant Payne10
14Scott Steele
15Matt Elverson
16Mark Beard7
17Anthony Savage11
Match Report By
Ali Kazemi